Feb 21, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
When a Jewish child and a black maid bond during the waning days of Jim Crow in St. Charles, Louisiana, musical magic ensues. Even the washing machines and dryers sing like archangels!
So you can imagine the width and breadth of the musical genres in “Caroline, or Change” the unconventional musical by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori now playing at Syracuse Stage, 820 East Genesee St., down city.
“We play everything from soul to gospel, from Cajun to klezmer,” said Syracuse Area Music Award-winning fiddler Diamond Joe Davoli, a member of the play’s 10-piece pit band.
While Joe fills the second violin chair in the orchestra, Liverpool musician Sara Mastrangelo plays first violin, a position she had filled with the now-defunct Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.
Sara is the wife of the SSO’s associate concertmaster, Jeremy Mastrangelo, a Liverpool High School alumnus who’s also an accomplished violinist. Occasionally, the Mastrangelos perform chamber music together, as they did last year performing music for two violins and piano by Ibert, Viotti and Maurice, accompanied by keyboardist Ida Trebicka.
Every summer, the Mastrangelos travel to Colorado where they’ve worked at Steamboat Springs’ Strings in the Mountains festival and in the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra.
Musical talent runs in the Mastrangelo family. Jeremy’s older brother, David, is principal second violin in the Naples Philharmonic in Florida.
Singing washing machine
Anyhow, Sara’s now hard at work in the Syracuse Stage pit band, an all-star orchestra is led by the show’s musical director, keyboardist Christopher Drobny. The group features cellist Walden Bass, guitarist/mandolinist Tom Bronzetti (who’s also from Liverpool!), reedman Joe Carello, fiddler Joe Davoli, percussionist Josh Dekaney, reedman Frank Grosso and bassist Darryl Pugh.
Directed and choreographed here by Marcela Lorca, “Caroline, or Change” earned six Tony nominations in 2004 and won the Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2007.
The Syracuse Stage cast is led by Greta Oglesby as Caroline and also features Michelle Barber, Larry Block and Danielle Thomas who plays the Washing Machine. Yes, the Washing Machine sings in this show!
Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23; 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25; and closes at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26. Ticket prices range from $18 to $50; 443-3275; SyracuseStage.org.
Speaking of live music, the Liverpool Is The Place Committee is already booking bands for the 2012 summer concert series June 4 through Aug. 22, at Johnson Park.
Here’s some good news: The Liverpool Community Chorus, now led by new director Doug McCall, is back on the series schedule after a year layoff. They’ll sing in the park on June 11.
The area’s premier oldies band, Smokin, will also be back this year on Aug. 13 Smokin’s drummer, Syracuse Area Music Awards Hall of Famer Jan Fetterly and his wife, Nancy, are moving to Arizona later this year. Jan, who grew up in Galeville, was an original member of the seminal Syracuse rock combo Sam & The Twisters.
Other 2012 concerts will feature a British blues-rock raveup by Mark Doyle & The Maniacs on June 6 and Dave Baker’s Tribute to Frank Sinatra on June 20.
The committee is actively seeking sponsorship for its 24 summer concerts. Potential sponsors should contact LITP Chairwoman Colleen Gunnip at 516-0316.